Pacheedaht Campground - West Coast TrailThe Pacheedaht Campground is a beautiful, and often bustling campground, quite close to the Gordon River trailhead for the West Coast Trail. Pacheedaht Beach is exactly what you would hope for in a Vancouver Island, west coast beach. It is a two kilometres long, wide, sandy beach with the ever present tangle of driftwood logs scattered along its length. The sand is powdery and soft and the salt smell of the ocean is wonderfully invigorating.



This beach and campground is popular with a variety of recreational users. From West Coast Trail hikers gearing up to start the trail or bedraggled after finishing it. To obsessed fishermen with their array of recreational devices, including deluxe campers and bewilderingly exravagant fishing boats. Salmon fishing, you quickly realize is extraordinarily good and popular here. Sixty pound Chinook salmon are caught near here quite often! The Chinook is the largest species of Pacific salmon. The largest Chinook salmon ever recorded caught, was a 126 pound(57kg) monster!

In fact, there is so much life under the waves here that you can row a boat out in front of the beach here, drop a crab trap, and come back a couple hours later to a bonanza of crabs. You often find groups of stereotypical Canadians along the beach here, surrounding a fire with an enormous pot full of crabs and drinking huge amounts of beer. Enjoying themselves very much in this wild corner of paradise!

One aspect of the Pacheedaht Campground that surprises most is how huge, spread out and varied it is. You can get a campsite on the beach, or back from it. You may get lucky and get a bit of privacy from your neighbours, or find yourself jammed in, close to others. Some sites are not on, or particularly close to the beach, but rather along the lagoon. Often your campsite is luck of the draw, although you can often get placed somewhat close to your requested site.

Pacheedaht Campground - Port Renfrew

Owing to the spread out nature of the campsite, many have difficulty finding where to check in. You are supposed to check in before heading to your campsite. Don't look for a lot of direction signs, but orient yourself by the drive in. After you cross the single lane bridge, you should drive past the the first campsites and when you see the large marina sign(pointing right), you will also see a smaller sign for the Pacheedaht Campground(pointing left). Follow the Pacheedaht signs to the little check in office. You can just drop in to get a campsite or reserve ahead online. There doesn't seem to be an advertised phone number or website for the Pacheedaht Campground, though there is an email address: Email: campground@pacheedaht.ca  Address: Pachidah Road, Port Renfrew, BC.

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew - West Coast Trail

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew on the West Coast TrailThe Duchess of Argyle met her end at the mouth of Cullite Cove back at the 58 kilometre mark of the West Coast Trail. She was a huge, four masted barque with an iron hull and watertight bulkheads. She was sailing in ballast from San Francisco on October 13th, 1887, bound for Vancouver. She would pick up lumber and sail for Melbourne, Australia. Sailing up the coast from San Francisco, the good weather turned bad on October 16th. For almost two weeks a powerful gale hammered the Duchess of Argyle. When the storm finally let up, Cape Flattery was sighted about 20 miles away. The ship, unable to find wind, floated with the current, inching towards Juan de Fuca Strait. Soon a small tug boat arrived to assist the enormous becalmed ship through the strait. They lowered sails and got the hawser aboard to connect the ships. The captain of the tug quickly realized that his vessel was too small to manage such a huge ship rolling in the seas. Cape Flattery was still about 14 miles distant and concealed by fog much of the time. The Duchess of Argyle wallowed in the current until midnight when a strong eastward gale gripped the ship once more. They sailed for Cape Flattery until the wind died again and on November 1st the fog lifted revealing Cape Flattery just 3 miles away. Suddenly the fog returned again, thicker than ever. They crawled forward slowly hoping for the fog to lift again. The fog didn't let up and at 315pm on November 3rd, breakers were heard...

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew on the West Coast TrailThe John Marshall shipwreck is located under the waves just outside the mouth of Camper Bay at the 62 kilometre mark of the West Coast Trail. Owing to the great difficulty and slow progress hikers are forced to take on this section of the West Coast Trail, nearly everyone camps at Camper Creek. If you do, you will be sleeping near this shipwreck that occurred here in 1860. The John Marshall was an old eastern built, 3 masted ship of 321 tons. Sailing in from San Francisco with a crew of 10, she was heading to Seabeck, Washington in ballast to pick up a load of lumber. Off Cape Flattery the John Marshall met a raging storm that left her beached in front of Camper Bay. There seem to be few details of this shipwreck, however, local natives reported that two ships came ashore from the storm that night. It had been assumed that she foundered off Cape Flattery with no survivors. So it was quite a surprise to find her ashore at Camper Bay, with her hull visible at low tide and her masts, spars and rigging scattered on the beach. There are no details of deaths from this shipwreck, so it is assumed that there was no loss of life.

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew on the West Coast TrailWilliam Tell Shipwreck at 64.2: Less than a kilometre past the John Marshall shipwreck you will pass the William Tell shipwreck. Considerably larger than the John Marshall, the William Tell was a 1153 ton, 3 masted ship that wrecked in the Graveyard of the Pacific on December 23rd, 1865. She sailed straight into the reef in front of what is now the 64 kilometre mark of the West Coast Trail. The William Tell was built in New York in 1850. She sailed in the North Atlantic for a few years before branching out to more distant ports. On her final voyage in 1865, she was inbound from South Africa in ballast, heading to a port in the Puget Sound. She managed to sail into Juan de Fuca Strait, however stormy weather and strong currents moved her considerably far west. Blindly sailing in thick fog and the darkness of night, the William Tell smashed into the reef between Owen Point and Camper Bay. The crew of 22 men managed to scramble safely to shore and made their way to Owen Point where they lit signal fires. Their fires were spotted from the harbour of Port San Juan(Port Renfrew). They were picked up and later brought back to Victoria by a local trading schooner.

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew on the West Coast TrailThe Revere shipwreck lays at the bottom of Port San Juan between Thrasher Cove and Owen Point. Thrasher Cove is the first or last West Coast Trail campsite you will encounter. She was a large 3 masted barque of 829 tons, built in 1849 in Medford, Massachusetts. She became a victim of the Graveyard of the Pacific on September 9th, 1883. The Revere spent much of her life sailing back and forth from Liverpool in the 1850's. In 1883 she was sailing from Honolulu in ballast for a port in Puget Sound. She was carrying a crew of 13 plus 4 passengers. Nearing Cape Flattery, the Revere found herself in thick fog and calm winds. Unable to see, she was carried by the notorious Juan de Fuca Strait current, across the strait. On the morning of Sunday, September 9th, 1883 the crew heard breaking waves and rushed to drop an anchor. It was too late, however, as the Revere slid around and hit the reef broadside. Breakers pounded her against the rocky coast of Vancouver Island as the crew escaped in lifeboats. The Revere was battered by the waves and broke up in the coming days and weeks. The crew was ferried to Victoria by the local Indians in canoes.

Shipwrecks Near Port Renfrew on the West Coast TrailThe shipwreck Cyrus is located just down from the West Coast Trail's Gordon River trailhead. If you stand at the wonderful, long, sandy beach that spans the width of Port San Juan and look out over the ocean on your right, you will be looking over the patch of ocean where the Cyrus met her end. The Cyrus was a 213 ton, two masted ship, built in 1832. The Cyrus was sailing from Steilacoom, Washington with a cargo of lumber heading to San Francisco. She had sailed this route many times, however on December 23rd, 1858 she ran into a storm off Cape Flattery. Her cargo shifted causing her to list and the crew struggled to sail her into Port San Juan to escape the storm. She managed to limp to safety and anchored along the beach in front of present day Port Renfrew. After the storm had let up, the Cyrus set sail, however was unable to catch enough wind to maneuver and she was forced to anchor again. While at anchor, a southerly squall hit her and snapped the anchor chain. Another anchor was dropped, but it was too late as the Cyrus dragged the anchor until she was driven onto the beach near the mouth of Gordon River. The ship slowly came apart during the following days, her rigging, sails and cargo were mostly salvaged.

Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailDuchess of Argyle at 58k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailJohn Marshall at 62.3k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWilliam Tell at 64.2 Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRevere at 69k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailCyrus at 75k

West Coast Trail Campsites Near Port Renfrew

Cullite Cove Campsite Rating - West Coast TrailCullite Cove is a wonderful campsite on the West Coast Trail at the 58 kilometre mark. One of the nicest campsites you will find on the West Coast Trail. It has everything, a lovely wooded area with clearings for tents and campfires. Stunning views all around. A terrific, rocky beach, beautifully hemmed in by towering cliffs on either side. Cullite Creek pours into the cove, making for a stunning, albeit freezing swim into the surf. Cullite Cove is a close to perfect as a campsite can get.  Cullite Creek is beautiful, crystal clear green, big and slow moving into Cullite Cove, a picture perfect beach hemmed in by majestic cliffs on both sides.  Just off the beach, several campsites are laid out, hidden in the trees.  Your first thought on seeing this site is to want to stay for a week.  The campsite here is often very quiet as everybody seems to camp at Camper Bay just 4 kilometres away and doesn't even drop down the short detour off the main trail to Cullite Cove

Cullite Cove Campsite on the West Coast Trail

Camper Bay Campsite Rating - West Coast TrailCamper Bay is beautiful, similar to Cullilte Cove there are cliffs on either side.  The downside is crowding.  It's the first really good campsite from the Port Renfrew direction. Still, it's spacious.  Another downside is the proximity of Port Renfrew.  It's hard to get the wilderness feeling when you can see boats pass every minute and cruise ships in the distance. Camper Bay is often home to quite a number of campers. You always find the campsite lined with tents along the treeline packed so close together as to hear each others conversations. A bit too cozy, but on the other hand, Camper Bay is a great place to socialize with fellow campers. The linear tent site arrangement make it necessary for you and others to walk past several tents to do almost anything. So you get fairly well acquainted with your fellow West Coast Trail hikers. The trail from Camper Bay in both directions is pretty brutal with ladders and erratic terrain, so you and your fellow campers with be exhausted. Cullite Cove is a wonderful campsite on the West Coast Trail at the 58 kilometre mark. One of the nicest campsites you will find on the West Coast Trail. It has everything, a lovely wooded area with clearings for tents and campfires. Stunning views all around. A terrific, rocky beach, beautifully hemmed in by beautiful cliffs on either side. Cullite Creek pours into the cove, making for a stunning, albeit freezing swim into the surf. The campsite here is often very quiet as everybody seems to camp at Camper Creek just 4 kilometres away and doesn't even drop down the short detour off the main trail to Cullite Cove.

Camper Bay Campsite on the West Coast Trail

Thrasher Cove Campsite Rating - West Coast TrailThrasher Cove has a lot of good aspects as well as some bad. In terms of good, the beach is very pretty and quite interesting. Not a broad and long beach, the beach at Thrasher is quite varied with rock outcrops and constant bends. You can easily keep yourself amused by wandering down the beach, poking your head around every new corner. Back at the campsite, the beach tent sites are backed by an alarmingly abrupt ascent to the main trail. The outhouses at Thrasher Cove are perched up in the trees above the beach and looking around, you feel the embrace of the trees all around giving just narrow glimpses of the ocean. As for bad, Thrasher Cove is generally crowded with fellow campers, and you may find yourselves elbow to elbow with a dozen or more tents in an increasingly confined area. The problem, of course is the narrow beach and abrupt cliff at your back. This does, however, give you a wonderful feeling of how the West Coast Trail truly is. Wild rainforest behind you with ladders attached to the steep terrain and a beautiful ocean in front of you.

Thrasher Cove Campsite Outhouse - West Coast Trail

Thrasher Cove Campsite Map - West Coast Trail

 Cullite Cove at 58k Camper Bay at 62k Thrasher Cove at 70k Pacheedaht Campground

Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailPrologue Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail1: The West Coast Trail Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail2: When to Hike & Fees Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail3: Trailheads Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail4: Getting There

Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail5: Considerations Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail6: Campsites Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail7: Shipwrecks Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail8: Routes

 

West Coast Trail Campsites

The Pachena Bay Campground is the closest campsite to the Pachena trailhead, not on the West Coast ...
Read More
The campsite at Michigan Creek is the first or last campsite you will encounter on the West ...
Read more
Just a kilometre past the Darling River campsite you will come to another beach campsite at Orange ...
Read more
The Tsocowis Creek campsite at 16.5k has a decent beach with an excellent water source. Most hikers ...
Read more
The campsite at Klanawa River is quite nice beacause of its lovely, swimmable river, expansive ...
Read more
Carmanah Creek slowly flows through this wonderfully massive channel that cuts deep into the ...
Read more
Walbran Creek at 53k is home to possibly the best, and most unappreciated campsites on the West ...
Read more
The Pacheedaht Campground is a beautiful, and often bustling campground, quite close to the ...
Read more